Business Blog

Realtree and Cracker Barrel Forge Natural Partnership


Recently, folks at Realtree and Cracker Barrel realized the companies had a lot in common. Now, that’s turned into a promising partnership.


As of Aug. 15, all 670 Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores are offering Realtree-licensed lifestyle products, including apparel, headwear, footwear, accessories and novelties. The restaurant giant’s family-first approach and motto — “Pleasing people” — mesh perfectly with Realtree’s “Family, friends and the outdoors” philosophy, so the corporations decided to join forces.


About a year ago, Realtree staffers met with Cracker Barrel officials to discuss potential opportunities. The restaurant executives liked the Realtree brand story and realized the companies shared many synergies on a consumer basis. Realtree then put together a suggested list of licensed products for the stores, from which Cracker Barrel selected several items.


The Cracker Barrel/Realtree partnership is perfect for our collective core customers,” said Jill Slocumb, Realtree’s New Retail and Brand Director. “We’re both family-based companies, and we worked together to create a collection of products that reflects that connection.


The Realtree collection at Cracker Barrel stores includes gear from top licensees, including Emperia handbags, Old Dominion footwear, Outdoor Cap and Top of the World headwear, Eagle Wings ties, Stahl Cross necklaces, Unified Leather wallets, Bell Ranger infant apparel, SPG men’s and women’s apparel, 24/7 duffel bags and backpacks, drinkwear from Tervis and The Memory Company and Realtree Monster Bucks DVDs. The initial consumer reaction has been positive, with sales after two weeks tracking ahead of plan.


Cracker Barrel was founded by Dan Evins in 1969, and the first restaurant/store was in Lebanon, Tenn., where the company headquarters still reside.


“What Dan had in mind was the kind of place he’d been to hundreds of times as a boy,” the company’s website reads. “It was a place called the country store; something every small community once had. Out West, they called them trading posts; up North, they were general stores. Where Dan grew up, in middle Tennessee, they were old country stores, and Dan figured maybe folks traveling on the big new highways might appreciate a clean, comfortable, relaxed place to stop in for a good meal and some shopping that would offer up unique gifts and self-indulgences, many reminiscent of America’s country heritage.”


Each Cracker Barrel Old Country Store combines a restaurant with a menu based on Southern cuisine and a gift shop that resembles an old-fashioned Southern country store, complete with a front porch and wooden rocking chairs.


The philosophy hit home with people, and Cracker Barrel grew quickly, going public in 1981. By July 1996, the company had 257 Old Country Store locations. Today, the corporation’s 670 stores span 42 states.